Key Elements for Maintaining Trust in the Workplace

Apr 30, 2015 | Performance Management, Real-time Feedback

Developing and maintaining trust in a workplace is an important, but often difficult, process for any organization. For successful working relationships between peers, managers and subordinates, trust is crucial, and it should go both ways; from top down and from bottom up.

Even once trust is built it’s very fragile and can be destroyed easily, so it’s important that organizations constantly strive maintain trust.

Does Your Organization Promote These Traits?


Everyone should always be open and honest in their dealings with each other, from the CEO to the office junior.

Feedback is an essential part of professional growth, so managers should be encouraged to give regular and honest feedback to their teams. Even if their feedback is highlighting problems with an employee’s work, the key thing to remember is constructive criticism, emphasizing positive outcomes as much as possible.

In the same way, employees should feel comfortable in opening up to their superiors if they’re having problems, and peers should feel able to be honest with each other. Integrating 360-degree feedback into your overall performance management process is one good way to build and maintain a culture of honesty and openness, as every single employee gets the chance to provide honest feedback. The more trust there is within your organization, the more effective the results of the feedback are in getting to the root of any issues during employee appraisals.
Keep in mind these four golden rules when delivering feedback.


Confidentiality is a crucial element of trust in the workplace, just as it is in every-day life.

If an employee raises an issue they’re having at work, either with their line manager or HR department, then it needs to be treated with complete confidentiality. Imagine if that employee were to discover that it had become common knowledge; they would lose all trust in the person they’d spoken to, and possibly the organization as a whole.

It’s not only work-related issues that need to be kept confidential to maintain trust in the workplace. Personal information is often shared between colleagues, and if an organization has a culture of gossip and rumor, anything of a personal nature will soon spread like wildfire. If negative gossip becomes the norm within your organization, you’ll soon discover that lack of trust soon follows suit.


Everyone should own their mistakes.

In order to build confidence and trust in a workforce, employees should be given the responsibility for whatever tasks and projects the business sees fit, and they should also have full accountability. How often do you hear stories of employees doing something great, only to have their boss take credit for their success? That’s a surefire way to kill trust, along with employee engagement. Equally, if things go wrong, they should still be held accountable and encouraged to learn from their mistakes.

Accountability works both ways, and when objectives are set following the results of 360-degree feedback they should be monitored to ensure success. Every employee should be held accountable if they fail their objectives, otherwise the process might just be seen as simply a paper exercise.
Primalogik 360 can help you streamline your employee performance and integrate 360-degree feedback into your performance management process. Start your free trial today!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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